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As part of week of rallies, protesters call for fewer cuts and new revenue

Post by Katie Schmidt on April 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
April 5, 2011 3:36 pm

In response to House budget proposals released yesterday, protesters in Olympia kicked off a week of rallies against cuts to state services.

The protest of the day Tuesday, sponsored by the Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget, featured a staged marriage between Washington politicians and corporations and a rallying cry that has become a familiar fixture of groups protesting in Olympia this year: fund state services and end tax breaks for big business.

Nicole Miller, a coalition member and a leader of the rally, said the group wanted state lawmakers to make more of an effort to raise revenue this year.

Miller acknowledged that ending tax exemptions could be difficult under Initiative 1053, which requires a two-thirds majority of the Legislature or a vote of the people to raise taxes, but she said she would rather see lawmakers bring bills to close tax loopholes up for a vote and fail than avoid the issue altogether.

“We want to see lawmakers work on closing them rather than just throwing up their hands,” she said.

Protesters said they wanted to see the Legislature act on several bills that would end tax preferences in Washington, including Senate Bill 5857, which would add expiration dates to about 300 tax exemptions in the state and House Bill 1847, which would raise taxes on coal, private jets and plastic surgery.

They said they wanted to see that money go toward education, Basic Health and home care for seniors.

When he released the House proposal for a two-year state operating budget Monday, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, said he hadn’t included any new revenue in the bill because it would be dangerous to rely on money that would need a two-thirds vote to be approved.

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